BY Alexa Irizarry
On Sept. 7, the Sacred Heart University Choir Program held a retreat for the second year in a row.
This retreat day consisted of vocal sessions, bonding activities to meet the new freshman and help them get adjusted.
One of the vocal sessions was led by choir director Matthew Cimino and the other was led by special guest Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin. Robinson-Martin works at Princeton University as the jazz voice instructor and director of the Jazz Vocal Collective Ensembles.
“It was a great chance to have supplemental vocal training sessions,” said John Michniewicz, head of the Choir Department.
The SHU Choir Program is composed of about 200 members from now five different choirs. These choirs include the SHUperman choir (men’s acapella group), Concert Choir (all women’s choir), 4 Heart Harmony (chamber chorus), Blended Hearts (acapella group), Liturgical Choir, and the newest, Gospel Choir.
Each choir runs on different schedules. However, most meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, excluding Gospel Choir, which meets on Tuesdays.
Each choir group meets for about four hours a week. Since Gospel Choir is new this year and still hoping to expand, they only meet once a week for about an hour and a half.
Each choir member was required to go to the retreat. The retreat was split by vocal section into three groups: tenors and basses, altos, and sopranos. The groups rotated between the two vocal sessions and an icebreaker activity.
“SHU Choir is full of the most friendly, energetic, welcoming people you will ever meet,” said senior President Lydia Ibarra.
A fan favorite vocal session was with Dr. Robinson-Martin because the choir was very excited to experience the new techniques she showed them.
Dr. Trienice has a background at Columbia Univeristy and multiple degrees, such as a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Improvised Music Studies. Trienice was able to share her passion and expertise for music with the choir students.
“Trineice dedicated her career to performing and developing resources for teaching jazz, gospel, christian, R&B, rock, country, and pop singing styles in an applied and private voice lesson setting,” said Ibarra.
The SHU Choir Program holds auditions for any students interested in getting involved. Auditions for the choir consist of singing a music piece of choice and sight singing.
Some members of the choir are recruited from high school and others decide to join after they get to college. Each member of the choir also has the chance to earn the Performing Arts grant. This grant requires that members are a part of one choir group and earn a certain number of hours in a selected committee.
The choir program has implemented a buddy system in order to have the freshmen feel more comfortable coming into the program. This provides a chance for new members to easily transition into SHU choir and college in general.
This year the choir will be traveling to Italy. This trip includes traveling to Rome, singing at masses such as St. Peter’s Basilica, and performing in front of the Pope.